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[[quoteright:248:[[Webcomic/VirtualShackles http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/peach_envy2_9133.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:248:Poor [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Daisy]]... always the backup, never the prize.]]

->''"Delfino Emergency Broadcast System Alert... Princess Peach of the Mushroom Kingdom has apparently been kidnapped... '''AGAIN.'''''"
-->-- ''VideoGame/SuperMarioSunshine''

They're not just the VictimOfTheWeek, they're the Victim Of ''Every'' Week.

When the writers enjoy picking on a character, [[TheChewToy it's funny]]. When [[CosmicPlaything the universe enjoys picking on a character]], [[TheWoobie it's sad]]. When the BigBad or MonsterOfTheWeek insists on picking on the same character every episode, [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs it's both sad and funny]].

Sure, the protagonists of any show where out of the ordinary stuff happens are going to be {{Weirdness Magnet}}s, but there is something about the number of times this one character is targeted specifically that stands out. Danger seeks them out like a bloodhound. While the other heroes are off foiling the EvilPlan, she (and 90% of the time, it will be a [[AlwaysFemale "she"]]) is busy trying to survive. The Designated Victim isn't incompetent or helpless or [[ButtMonkey accident prone]] or that much different from the rest of the cast. Something in her DNA is just a magnet for danger, probably something of the same material that went into the construction of {{Tokyo|IsTheCenterOfTheUniverse}} and [[BigAppleSauce New York]].

[[IThoughtItMeant Not some bizarre]] [[InvertedTrope inversion of]] [[TwentyFifthAmendment Designated Survivor]].



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Athena from ''Manga/SaintSeiya'' is always about to die and her warriors go on a mission to save her. This was repeated so many times that Athena started forbidding the participation of the protagonists in the fights yet they decide to save her again.
* Naru Osaka from ''Anime/SailorMoon'' '''always''' seemed to attract a MonsterOfTheWeek within minutes of appearing on screen, probably because she was Usagi's only [[{{Muggles}} non-superpowered]] friend. The very first episode of ''Sailor Moon R'' even had Luna and Artemis breaking the fourth wall to comment on the frequency of her being attacked by monsters. Likely the only reason this doesn't happen in later seasons is her being PutOnABus.
* Mytho from ''Anime/PrincessTutu'' easily falls into this trope. In the first season alone he falls out of a window ''three times'' (once while the building he's in is burning!), is constantly taken captive by [[DarkMagicalGirl Princess Kraehe]] and others, gets slapped for not following orders by several people, gets locked up in a small room in the library, etc etc. In the second season this doesn't happen as much...[[spoiler:but that's because Kraehe kidnapped him and used Raven's blood to turn him evil, so it's really an extension of his role anyway.]]
* Everyone in ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' tends to come to a bad end sooner or later, but Miyo Takano and Jiro Tomitake are almost always the first ones to die (the exception being Atonement Chapter, where they're the third and fourth ones to die). Of course, [[spoiler:Takano's "death" is always faked and she always arranges Tomitake's]], but that doesn't become apparent until Massacre Chapter.
** [[spoiler:Irie]] also apparently dies several days later (but still before the point where it ceases to matter) in every iteration of the loop, but this takes quite a long time to become apparent because many of the arcs end and jump back to the start of the loop before reaching that point. It should also be noted that Takano always dies by being burned to death and Tomitake by clawing out his own throat; at least this third one gets a rather ''painless'' method of death.
* [[SchoolNewspaperNewsHound Mika Masuko]] of ''Anime/YesPrettyCure5'' has a bizarre tendency to be attacked every time she gets more than a minute or two of screen time. The heroines' ''other'' acquaintances didn't have to deal with this...
* Yui Nanase of ''Anime/GoPrincessPrettyCure'' is attacked by Dyspear and her underlings ''FIVE'' times, most of anyone in the series. It ends up working out for her, though, as she [[spoiler:is able to break out ''on her own'' the third time and help other victims]].
* In ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'', Nodoka has started finding herself in this role. She's the only one [[BigBad Fate]] and his minions actually want dead, because they want to [[ShootTheMedicFirst Shoot the Mind-Reader First]]. [[spoiler:Although they find out the hard way that when when the chips are down, [[BewareTheNiceOnes you really really don't want to screw with her]].]]
** Anya qualifies even more, as the only semi-plot relevant thing that she's done is get immediately captured by the BigBad, soon after she enters the magic world.
* As {{lampshade|Hanging}}d in ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries'', Mokuba has a bit of a habit of getting kidnapped often.
** ''Anime/YuGiOh'', from the Battle City finals onward, seemed to love tormenting and torturing Mai. Maybe the worst being the Doma arc, where she had a relapse from Yami Malik's MindRape, and subsequently fell victim to a HeelFaceMindScrew by Dartz.
** Early in the manga, Yugi himself seemed to get beaten up by bullies OnceAnEpisode.
* If something bad happens to someone in ''Anime/OccultAcademy'', it's usually to Kozue.
* Hideyoshi is the only one of the group in ''Anime/SengokuOtome'' who gets kidnapped and captured. She catches onto it by about the fourth time it happens, and wonders why it's always her.
* Tatsuki Arisawa from ''Manga/{{Bleach}}''. Every single arc that takes place in Karakura Town is guaranteed to have her as a victim of some spiritual being at some point during the arc, with the first arc having her a victim twice.
* ''Anime/TigerAndBunny'' has [[MemeticBystander Scarf]]-[[FanNickname tan]].
* ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'': Eren "[[FanNickname Princess Peach]]" Yaeger gets kidnapped and injured with great frequency--[[spoiler:once in every major arc so far, in fact]]. Justified in that he's [[spoiler:a Titan Shifter with unique abilities]], making him desirable to many different factions.
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'': For whatever reason, Team Rocket always makes a point of trying to capture Ash's Pikachu.

* Abel from DC Comics is literally mankind's designated victim, although usually it's just his brother, Cain, who torments him.
* ''ComicBook/TheSavageDragon'' had a balding, glasses-wearing, mustached man appearing in the background of every issue. And many times fulfilling this trope, such as when mass brain-washing made him leap in front of a moving car. And then of course, Josh Eichorn who is insulted in the "credits" page for each SD book.
* The main plot of ''Comicbook/{{Empowered}}'' is about the central character trying to get out of this role.
* Back in UsefulNotes/{{the Silver Age|of Comic Books}}, ComicBook/LoisLane and ComicBook/JimmyOlsen could be relied upon to catch this all the time, though they each had their own specialties. Lois was the most likely to get menaced by criminals or fall off a building, while Jimmy was a magnet for getting turned into a werewolf, porcupine-man, or giant turtle.
** In a {{Superman}} story a few years back, Darkseid's crazy bioengineers, Simyan and Mokkari, kidnap ComicBook/JimmyOlsen to experiment on him. In a ShoutOut to the classic Creator/JackKirby [[ComicBook/NewGods Jimmy Olsen]] stories (as well as UsefulNotes/{{the Silver Age|of Comic Books}} stories where Jimmy was always getting [[BalefulPolymorph turned into crazy stuff),]] Simyan and Mokkari imply that they've kidnapped Jimmy many times before, and that they [[ItAmusedMe just get a kick]] out of inflicting ridiculous mutations on him specifically.
* Shimy from ''ComicBook/LesLegendaires''; sure, all her comrades got their part of bad treatment, violent backstory, beat up and mutilation, but compared to the others, she gets an impressive part, such as : getting captured and tortured by [[DarkActionGirl Tenebris]] (in flashbacks and ''Origins''); rejected by her mother; being the ChosenOne [[AntiAntiChrist to serve as the reincarnation for a]] GodOfEvil; getting [[EyeScream her eyes pierced with a]] ''FlamingSword'' from said GodOfEvil; learning her boyfriend cheated on her; getting drunk to the point she ends up kissing Tenebris (and feeling humiliated for it when she comes back to her sense). The author actually admits she was part of his favourite characters, and that he enjoyed making her suffer, arguing that "The more you like them, the more you chatise them".
* Back when [[ComicBook/FantasticFour the Thing]] was appearing every month in ''Marvel Two-In-One,'' just how many times did poor Alicia Masters get kidnapped?

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}}''; Roxanne Ritchi is Megamind's go-to kidnap victim of choice. He's done this so often and yet failed to accomplish anything by it that her standard response has become [[DeadpanSnarker dry sarcasm]] at how hackneyed his death traps are. She was also part of Megamind's Frequent Victim Program, but apparently he discontinued it.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretOfNimh'', Mrs Brisby [[MamaBear certainly pulls her worth trying to protect her family]], neverless ''a lot'' of hindrances occur along the way, be it a monstrous cat, a nightmarish rat guard or the power-corrupt villain whose scheme she has somehow gotten entangled into. Jeremy's klutzy behaviour also causes some annoyances in between, though even he has to protect her at one point.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Eric Idle's character in ''Film/NationalLampoonsEuropeanVacation'' [[RecurringExtra just happens to turn up at the same spots all over Europe at the same time as the main characters]], suffering increasingly grievous injuries due to their actions. He returns for more of the same 18 years later in the {{Made for TV Movie}} ''Christmas Vacation 2''.
* Subverted in the indie short film ''[[Film/{{DEBS}} D.E.B.S.]]'' (later remade into a movie) in which secret agent Amy keeps getting kidnapped by the BigBad, Lucy in the Sky. Only it turns out they're in love and it's the only way they can get together for some LesYay without attracting suspicion.
* This is parodied in the ''Film/ScoobyDoo'' movies, particularly the first. Daphne complains about how she's ''always'' the one to get captured and, when she insists that she's going to solve a mystery herself, one of the gang asks, "Who's going to rescue you when you get kidnapped?" It's actually subverted since she TookALevelInBadass at the beginning of the first film and knew martial arts. The sequel takes it one step further and has her know how to use her blush and some tape to trip a fingerprint-activated switch.
* ''Film/TimeBandits'': in a number of different time periods, characters played by Michael Palin and Shelley Duval run afoul of the bandits and end up in some sort of debacle. It's not clear if they're relatives of each other or just {{Identical Stranger}}s in different time periods.

* Joe Buckley, a fan of Creator/BaenBooks who has a website collecting preview snippets from upcoming books published by them, has been killed off repeatedly by various Baen authors, including but not limited to Creator/DavidWeber (''Literature/HonorHarrington''), Creator/JohnRingo (''Literature/LegacyOfTheAldenata''), and Creator/EricFlint (''Literature/SixteenThirtyTwo'' Series). This came about when Ringo asked for feedback on the draft of his novel, and Buckley made the unfortunate mistake of giving it to him in public, and without a lot of tact in the delivery. The only way this writer felt he could regain his honor was to [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed tuckerize]] Buckley and kill him off in the most creative way possible. This amused other Baen writers, who decided it was a good idea and should be encouraged. To put it in perspective, Ringo decided the best way to kill him more was to have the only stable and adjustable human AI's personality be taken from the brain scans of Joe Buckley. Eventually they tend to go crazy and need to be reset to default, essentially killing him again. Under stress and at high levels of function this is known to happen dozens of times a second.
** Creator/RykESpoor and Creator/EricFlint's ''Literature/{{Boundary}}'' plays with this tendency: the opening line is ''"Dear God, I'm going to die," muttered Joe Buckley'' and Joe is subjected to all manner of near-fatal injuries and accidents throughout the book - including being thrown out of a spaceship during a crash landing. His shocking ultimate fate: [[spoiler:he lives, and even gets a love interest]].
*** See Joe's own reaction to this tendency [[http://jiltanith.thefifthimperium.com/Collections/BoundaryChapters/Boundary_01.php here]] (to the Boundary Tuckerization) and another in his site's [[http://jiltanith.thefifthimperium.com/site/faqs/- FAQ]] (His reaction in general to the whole deal. Also contains his version of why it happens.)
** In the [[Literature/HonorHarrington Solarian League]], there's even an entire series of Joseph Buckley starships named after a famous scientist who helped discover the [[ReactionlessDrive impeller wedge]], and died from a screw up in hyperspace[[note]] To be specific, his death was the direct result of him testing his method of navigating a NegativeSpaceWedgie. He was wrong, with awe-inspiring results.[[/note]]. They are on the sixth ship named it, only one which survived to be decommissioned. Notably, of the five ships that did not survive to be decommissioned, most or all of them were not destroyed in combat either, but often by freak accidents.
** [[http://www.baenebooks.com/p-2613-the-many-deaths-of-joe-buckley.aspx There is now a specific short story collection]] of just his deaths, with twelve authors contributing, and most contributing many times over
** Creator/LarryCorreia's ''Monster Hunter Alpha'', the third of the Literature/{{Monster Hunter|International}} series and another Baen book, features a Deputy Sheriff Joe Buckley, who is killed by a werewolf, and then raised from the dead as a nearly unstoppable [[spoiler:zombie werewolf]] (sic). On page 398 one of the characters exclaims "So, Buckley, how many times does someone have to kill you before you stay dead?"
** From the ''Literature/SixteenThirtyTwo'' series:
*** In ''1634: The Galileo Affair'', investigative reporter Joe Buckley is tortured and killed (not in that order) by a French spy, ostensibly because he can't keep his damn mouth shut, actually because said spy was trying to provoke the protagonists.
*** In one of the ''Grantville Gazette'' short stories, Joe Buckley is already dead, as a somewhat notorious downtimer London area criminal who fell into the Thames while drunk, and drowned. His actual role in the story is as a corpse to be dissected to demonstrate uptimer knowledge.
* Well-known Russian fan and editor Yuri Semetsky was for several years repeatedly killed in almost every new Russian ScienceFiction book. This became so popular that writers started to compete in the most imaginative ways to kill him, and some young authors were even told by editors to remove killing Semetsky from their books because they were too junior for it. This was allegedly due to the fact that fortuneteller once told Semetsky that he was to die at 43, and his writer friends started this campaign to save him from this fate—there is a Russian folk belief that if a person once thought dead actually isn't, then he or she would live a long life. So, when he topped 44 and was still alive, this thing generally stopped.
* ''Literature/{{Twilight}}''. Bella frigging Swan. Every single plot in the books centers around a crazed vampire trying to kill her.
* In ''Literature/{{Artemis Fowl}}'', Holly Short complains in The Lost Colony about the fact that she was picked [[spoiler: as a decoy to fool Minerva Paradizo into losing No.1.]] Even in the Academy, she was always picked to play "the little blonde elf in distress during the bank holdup role-play".
* Prior to her empowerment, Gail Godwin played this role in ''Literature/SuperheroesAnonymous''. Shortly after she arrived in town, a supervillain attacked the train station and Blaze saved her. As a result, she has become the go-to hostage. One of the reasons she stays at a job she hates is the excellent medical coverage.


[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Jonathan from ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' started out this way, until he gained enough of a fan following that he got his own episode and worked his way up to villain-esque status. [[spoiler:And then he got killed off for real.]]
** In later seasons, Dawn assumed this role, to the point that it was {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d with the following line:
--->'''Buffy:''' Dawn's in trouble. Must be [[LeaningOnTheFourthWall Tuesday.]]
** [[TeamNormal Xander]] was always getting captured, imperiled, or humiliated. His [[FatalAttractor taste for demon women]] may have had something to do with this.
* Wesley in ''Series/{{Angel}}''. Blown up in season 1, Gutshot in season 2, throat slit in season 3, forced to decapitate a loved one in season 4. By the time the finale rolled around it was inevitable he was going to be killed.
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', [[DamselScrappy Lana Lang]] is firmly stuck in this role, especially in the early season where the MonsterOfTheWeek formula prevailed. In those episodes, the meteor freaks commonly gained a fixation on Lana before Clark could defeat them. However, it is something of an in-series DeadUnicornTrope that the freaks wants to ''eat'' Lana; it likely stems from the first Lana-inclined meteor freak, who [[{{Squick}} ate his mother and wanted to mate with Lana.]]
** Chloe gets this treatment fairly commonly in the middle seasons, which makes more sense after she learned Clark's secret so he could save her without any inhibitions. A notable difference between Lana and her is that Chloe is usually more plot-involved (like her involvement with Brainiac and Doomsday) while Lana is mostly just there to be a lightning rod for one-episode freaks.
* The 60's ''Series/{{Batman}}'' Show (and pre-Crisis Batman Comics, in general), had Robin kidnapped so many times that nowadays the nickname "Robin: The Boy Hostage" is practically canonized (at least among villains).
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'' usually has at least one per series:
** In ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'', it was Chekov. As the youngest, it was okay for him to scream and writhe in pain, but not for older, manlier characters like Kirk or Spock. In Creator/WalterKoenig's words:
--> '''Walter Koenig:''' There's peril! How do we know? Because Chekov is screaming!
** ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'': If someone is kidnapped, beaten, experimented on, MindRaped, electrocuted and thrown across engineering by an android with SuperStrength, temporarily turned into an alien, or just eaten, chances are it will be Geordi "My Best Friend [[MedicalHorror Stuck Electrodes]] In My [[BodyHorror Brain]]" [=LaForge=].
** In narrower terms of physical violence, Lt. Worf is so famous for it, a [[TheWorfEffect related trope]] is named after him.
** ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine''. O'Brien Must Suffer.
** Harry Kim of ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' was often the designated target of much suffering, because like Colm Meaney on ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine [=DS9=]]]'', Garrett Wang was good with this material. Harry was also the youngest and least experienced member of the senior crew, so he made a good thematic choice for this role too.
*** The trope is spoofed in the ShowWithinAShow ''Film/TheAdventuresOfCaptainProton'' with Constance Goodheart, a blonde ScreamingWoman whose sole function is to tag along with Captain Proton so she can be kidnapped by his ArchNemesis Dr Chaotica.
** ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise''. Being the captain, he always saves the day in the end, but Jonathan Archer is always getting tied up and roughed up by villains. Even the Ferengi. In the first season, it's practically ''every'' episode. It's toned down a bit afterward, but he still takes a beating more often than the others put together.
* ''Series/{{Rome}}'''s answer to Chief O'Brien, Lucius "Fortune Pisses on me Again" Vorenus.
* Pretty much any ''{{Series/Firefly}}'' episode involving River Tam has her getting in serious trouble with ''someone'' after her, though this is averted in "Objects in Space," where River outmaneuvers the BountyHunter after her with trivial ease. Somewhat ironically inverted in ''Serenity'', where River goes from being the DistressedDamsel to an extremely {{waif|Fu}}ish Badass.
** Also pretty much anytime some violent idiot is on the ship and needs a hostage, they grab Kaylee. Dobson, Tracy, the Bounty Hunter, etc.
** Presumably "Objects in Space" was meant to mark the point in the series in which River was on her way to recovery and would begin to access her forgotten training. Since the series was ScrewedByTheNetwork, Whedon had her make the leap during the movie.
* Blair from ''Series/TheSentinel'' is always getting roughed up by the bad guys, [[spoiler:including getting temporarily murdered by Jeri Ryan]]. He should have stayed in the truck!
* Gabrielle on ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'' was practically made of this trope in the earlier seasons of the show, before she TookALevelInBadass.
* Michael Shanks often jokes at ''Series/StargateSG1'' conventions about the number of times his character has entered a scene bound and being kicked to his knees.
** It didn't help that the number of times Dr. Jackson has been killed or presumed dead has become a joke '''in universe''', one time he was [[DueToTheDead refused a funeral]] because O'Neill was convinced he was not dead.
* Kurt from ''Series/{{Glee}}'' has been this for some time, as every other episode seems devoted to either emphasizing how hard it is being gay or how much he deserves anything good that happens to him.
* In the 2010 and 2011 seasons of ''Series/DoctorWho'' it is companion Rory who is the designated victim. He just keeps getting killed, or abandoned in time, or both together.
** The opening of the series 6 mid-season finale ''A Good Man Goes To War'' possibly marked the point where he TookALevelInBadAss. The later episodes saw him picked on a lot less, and hardly ever killed.
-->'''Rory''': WHERE IS MY WIFE?
-->''([=CyberShips=] blow up behind him)''
-->'''Rory''': Would you like me to repeat the question?
** Early on, the Ninth Doctor seemed to suspect that Rose was this:
--> Doctor: "Is anyone in there?"
--> Rose: "Let me out!"
--> The Doctor: "Oh, well it would be you."
* Elena Gilbert in the TV version of ''Series/TheVampireDiaries''. She is either kidnapped, threatened, or otherwise put in peril by whoever the villain is at the time during pretty much [[PunctuatedForEmphasis Every. Single. Episode.]] Either saving Elena is the entire point of the episode, or she's used as a bargaining chip to foul up whatever plan the protagonists have at the moment.
** Bonus points - There is always some (occasionally arbitrary) reason that the villian needs to keep her alive. Her life is rarely in real danger, meaning that these "save Elena" plots start to feel more like Bowser and Peach than anything else this side of Mario.
* Alex Cahill of ''Series/WalkerTexasRanger'', though in her case, it's every other episode rather than every single one.
* ''Series/{{Babylon5}}'': Michael Garibaldi: [[spoiler:accused of being a saboteur, betrayed by his own second-in-command, lost the love of his life repeatedly, was manipulated by the Psi Corps into betraying his closest friends, had a block placed in his mind to prevent him from harming the manipulator, and finally fell off the wagon in Season 5 due to all of this building up, not to mention the gradual loss of his hair.]] Seriously, Garibaldi could not go more than about three episodes without the B5 universe taking another giant dump on him.
* Harold Finch from ''Series/PersonOfInterest'' has been kidnapped in all three season finales so far, and has been held hostage a few times in between. In the most recent kidnapping he was kidnapped a fourth time FROM the original kidnapper. This is because Harold is "the most important man in the world", since he is the man who made The Machine, and thus is wanted by a LOT of people.
* Can the main character himself be this trope? He can be if the series is ''Series/TwentyFour''. Are terrorists menacing the USA/President/world again for the 8th day in a row? ''Jack Bauer must have betrayed us again!!!'' [[FridgeLogic Wait, didn't he save us all those other times?]] [[GenreBlindness Yes, but we're REALLY sure he betrayed us this time!]]
* Both Don Ramón[[note]]And not just because Doña Florinda constantly slaps him, either...[[/note]] and Señor Barriga in Series/ElChavoDelOcho. Profesor Jirafales also seems to be one mainly from his class...
* Ethan Hardy from ''Series/{{Casualty}}'' has been a series punching bag from day one. He seems distracted in his first appearance because his mother has just died. Then he finds out he's working with his brother [[AloofBigBrother Cal]], with whom he has a [[SiblingRivalry constant, bitter rivalry]]. His asshole brother steals £15000 from him to give to his girlfriend's medical charity- which turns out to be a scam. He later finds out that his late mother wasn't really his mother- he was adopted. His real mother has Huntingdon's disease, a crippling, irreversible illness that has a 50% chance of being passed down. As his helpless birth mother dies beside him not long after they first met, he finds out he has inherited the disease, and of course Cal hasn't. Despite all of his brother's misdeeds, Ethan loves him and remains loyal to him- so of course, Cal is murdered by a cold-blooded racist who gets away with it. Cal's murderer ends up falling and getting gravely injured, and when he shows no remorse, Ethan watches him choke to death on his own vomit. This should be a victory, but Ethan is now haunted by how he allowed himself to [[InconvenientHippocraticOath betray his moral duty as a doctor]]. He hands in his resignation to the clinical lead, who doesn't accept it...because she would rather use the knowledge that he let a man die as blackmail. What's more when Ethan isn't being burdened by the universe, he's the type to get completely strung out with work and make mistakes that make him question his worth.

* The stage directions of ''Pippin'' call for the same actor to play the lord put to death by Charlemagne in act one and the peasant put to death by Pippin in act two. Many productions will also have that actor be the head Pippin talks to after the battle and lampshade this with "Not again!" or "Why is it always me?!"

* Aurora's Monster Scenes, a line of models revolved around the antics of a cadre of monstrously villainous cretins - including ComicBook/{{Vampirella}}, [[MadScientist Dr. Deadly]], [[Film/Frankenstein1931 Frankenstein]] and a few others - and included one model kit of a scantily-clad woman simply called "The Victim." She was intended to used as the go-to victim for the villains. She could be caged in the Pain Parlor, [[StrappedToAnOperatingTable strapped to a table]] in Deadly's laboratory, or menaced by the [[BigCreepyCrawlies Giant Insect]] while [[HumanSacrifice chained to a pillar]]. Originally, she was going to be named "Dr. Deadly's Daughter," but this was quickly changed to the more generic name she ended up being sold under probably to avoid angering the MoralGuardians with implications of OffingTheOffspring. Unsurprisingly, the line got canned anyway.
* Todd [=McFarlane=]'s Monsters was one of [=McFarlane=] Toys' many attempts to reinvent classic (i.e. PublicDomain) monsters. Each set came with an elaborate base for play (kids) or display (adult collectors), loads of accessories and two figures themed to the set. The Werewolf set of course had a [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin werewolf]], but the second figure was a character named "Steve the Victim." Steve was capable of being dismembered and his remains hung in a tree hollow.
* The [=ToyBiz=] toyline for the 2000 ''Film/XMen1'' movie packaged Sabretooth with a "Security Guard" figure, apparently inspired by the Liberty Island sequence where Sabretooth and Toad kill several cops (not guards). The figure was made of several parts held together with string. Turning a knob on his back tightened the string and brought the guard together. When knocked over by Sabretooth, the same knob used to wind him up would depress, causing him to go loose and lie sprawled limply as though dead or unconscious. It did not quite work as intended, though; for one thing, the way he was constructed meant he wouldn't stay standing before his legs gave out and he just fell down on his own without Sabretooth's help.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Most ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' games involve [[GenerationXerox the current Princess Zelda]] getting waylaid in some way and in need of rescuing.
** Lampshaded in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks''. Once a ghost, Zelda insists you go retrieve her body while she waits for you, claiming it's tradition. Anjean, who's listening to all this, tells her that it's not happening that way this time, and Zelda joins you as your ExpositionFairy instead.
* The ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'' series has Princess Peach whom, when not being kidnapped by Bowser, is nearly-always connected, whether by fate or magic, to the plot at large and thus in need of protection from some ''other'' party. Sometimes she's playable instead, but even ''that'' doesn't save her most of the time. Over time, Nintendo has become increasingly self-aware regarding Peach's status; the page quote is just ''one'' example of LampshadeHanging.
** [[http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6386756/peach-and-zelda-catch-up Lampshaded in this]] CollegeHumor video.
* Princess Elise from ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'' is kidnapped several times by Eggman throughout the game; sometimes ''immediately'' after she was rescued. It gets to the point that rescuing her is all that Sonic does in his route, while Shadow and Silver get to do more important things, like dealing with the ''actual'' BigBad of the game.
* Both Coco and Crunch often got kidnapped or put out of action in later ''Franchise/CrashBandicoot'' games, likely to justify their non playable appearances. Taken to extremes in ''VideoGame/CrashTagTeamRacing'' where ''every single character'' (even the villains!) need Crash to find power ups or items to fix their repeatedly incomplete or sabotaged vehicles.
* Kaya in ''VideoGame/RaidouKuzunohaVsTheSoullessArmy''. She's [[spoiler: kidnapped, tortured, rescued just in time to be possessed, her body is used to fight Raidou, she's forced to fuse with the Soulless God...Yeah, it's pretty clear why she asks you to kill her at the start of the game.]]
* Throughout the ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' series in general, if Disney/{{Pinocchio}} appears in a game, it's a safe bet that he's going to end up either captured by one of the bad guys or menaced by random Heartless, requiring you to track him down and save him.
** And then there's Kairi, who ends up being hostage bait a lot in the first two games [[EveryoneCanSeeIt because of her connection to Sora]].
** Also her Nobody Namině, less from being kidnapped and more from [[TheWoobie being abused by the people she works with.]]
* Pretty much the first thing that happens in ''VideoGame/TalesOfLegendia'' is someone tries to kidnap Shirley. While you're fighting off that kidnapping attempt, ''someone else'' comes along and kidnaps her. Then, when you finally find out where she is and go to save her, before you can get her out safely, ''someone else comes and kidnaps her.'' She doesn't actually stick around long enough to be part of your party until ''after you beat the game.'' In a way, it's sort of ''satisfying'' to see her [[spoiler: become BrainwashedAndCrazy and attempt to flood the world, because at least now she's got some power!]]
* Poor IF in ''VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptuniaV''. She goes from a really competent [[TheLancer Lancer]] in the [[VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptunia first]] [[VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptuniaMk2 two games]] to the Designated Victim in this game, kidnapped ''three times by [[OmnicidalManiac Arfoire]]'' at three different times.
* Professor Theo from ''VideoGame/MischiefMakers'' is kidnapped (and almost killed at one point) several times throughout the game, sometimes ''right after'' he was rescued.
* Maya Fey from ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series, in the first six games of main series appears in 12 cases, ''six'' of which invelve her being framed, kidnapped, or otherwise targeted.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheKingfisher'' has a few candidates for this trope, most notably Jack Whitechapel. Key plot events for Jack almost all involve being tormented, abused, or molested.
* ''Webcomic/TheFourth'': Princess Veronika is constantly being kidnapped, and is pretty resigned about it.
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' has Tarvek who, despite his relative competency, has been kidnapped by the Geisters ([[spoiler:Actually faked on his part]]), been rescued out of custody by Violetta, had Zola attempt to kidnap him, been kidnapped by Othar, been rescued from imprisonment by Gil, was trapped in the Take 5 Bomb, and was then kidnapped by the Library, kidnapped by his grandmother, and then underwent second kidnap attempt by his grandmother.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Yumi of ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko''; the first season's examples coining the phrase "Pick On Yumi Week". While it would be logical for XANA to repeatedly go after Aelita, or TheSmartGuy Jérémie (he does this too, to a lesser degree), or the team's best warrior Ulrich, for some reason Yumi instead is the one who gets: captured by a Guardian and replaced by a clone; shot at by a KillSat; attacked by a possessed suit of armor; her home ambushed by Krabes; chased by a busload of zombies; her DNA code stolen, leaving her trapped on Lyoko; [[KnottyTentacles almost dragged underground by tree roots]]; falsely told that virtualization is slowly killing her; [[{{Homage}} attacked by a flock of birds]]...
** Of course, XANA's actual Designated Victim is Aelita, but he always has a different reason:
*** First Season: Aelita is the only one who can deactivate the towers, so killing her would make him unstoppable.
*** Second Season: He required her memories to use a program to escape Lyoko.
*** Third Season: He needed her to input the "Code: XANA" program in order to destroy Lyoko. (He usually used DemonicPossession here.)
*** Fourth Season: He used her [[spoiler:as bait to lure Franz Hopper out of hiding. Fortunately, the heroes caught on quickly after they realized this was his goal.]]
* Each girl on ''WesternAnimation/TotallySpies'' is the designated victim of some type of EvilPlan:
** Sam, the "smart one", is ''always'' the one who gets {{brainwashed}}/hypnotized.
** Clover, who is most concerned about her looks, is ''always'' the one to undergo a BalefulPolymorph, whether it's being shrunk, [[{{Animorphism}} turned into a cat]], [[TemporaryBulkChange fattened up by highly-addictive cookies]], or even having her legs stolen and replaced.
** Alex and Clover take turns being the one who gets kidnapped, though Alex, being the most athletic, is often tied up or imprisoned as a restrained hostage (and this is considering ''all three of the girls'' are usually put in bondage or a death trap at least OncePerEpisode).
* In ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'', despite being a superpowerful alien being, Starfire was such a Designated Victim that she had to constantly and visibly be ironically babysat during the fast-paced fight scenes by [[BadassNormal superpowerless]] Robin.
** Also, anything with tentacles is going after Starfire.
** In [[ComicBook/TeenTitans the original comic]], Starfire was casually beaten up in an alley (implying rape) despite being nigh-indestructible, super-strong and a handy combatant. Perhaps some writers just don't get it.
* On ''WesternAnimation/ElTigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera'', the spunky but powerless Frida. So far, Manny has decided on at least one occasion to end their friendship for her own safety. However, the show is big on AmusingInjuries, so it's really nothing permanent.
** In one episode, Frida tried to defy the trope by stealing Manny's belt and becoming a heroine. When the belt got taken off during a fight with Sartana of the Dead, Frida just grumbles a bit and walks into "her usual cell" of her own will, locking it behind her.
* Subverted (at least toward females) in ''WesternAnimation/ExtremeGhostbusters''. More than a few times does the MonsterOfTheWeek capture Kylie, then ''quickly release her'' [[TooSpicyForYogSothoth because she wasn't]] "worthy" of a capture. E.g. in the episode "Killjoys", she was captured -- and quickly released -- by an [[MonsterClown evil ghost clown]] because she didn't laugh. Though this "selection of victim" down the character line ends up making Eduardo the ButtMonkey.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'', you could tell when a writer wanted to get Batman alone and take Robin out of they way, because he would always be injured at the beginning of the episode, or taken hostage for Bats to rescue. This happened in "Riddler's Reform", "The Demon's Head" (though this was the case in the original comic version), "Fear of Victory" (though Dick saved the day later in the ep), "The Terrible Trio" and a few more. The most bizarre example is in "Bane" when after Batman freed Robin from his typical hostage situation, Dick stayed behind and wrestled the powerless mob-wench, who had never shown any combat abilities whatsoever and then ''let her get away'' (although after the day he was having, [[MeaningfulName Dick]] may have just wanted some light wrestling with a pretty girl). While Bats went after Bane. Clearly they wanted Batman and Bane to fight one on one, but that's just ridiculous. It's not really the show's fault, as one of Robin's nicknames in the comics is "Boy Hostage". It's hard being a sidekick. Also, better writers on the show (such as Paul Dini) would incorporate Robin successfully into the story without victimizing him.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/{{Beetlejuice}}'' cartoon, whenever the writers wanted [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Beetlejuice]] to actually act heroic, they would put Lydia in an untenable situation -- kidnapped, bullied, being forced into a shotgun marriage to an anthropomorphic bull, etc. Lydia being in danger was the ''only'' thing that could [[HeroicNeutral spur him into action.]]
* On ''WesternAnimation/CourageTheCowardlyDog'', Muriel is a sweet, clueless old lady who always gets terrorized by the MonsterOfTheWeek. Then again, she is one of only three main characters.
* Ma-Ti on ''WesternAnimation/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers''. WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway -- indeed.
* Tails in ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog''. To be exact, he's kidnapped ''22 times''.
** In its ''[[WesternAnimation/SonicSatAM SatAM]]'' variant, Princess Sally tended to face this problem repeatedly as well. Antoine also got into trouble a lot, but it was usually due to [[TheKlutz his own bumbling]] rather than acting as favored hostage bait for the villain.
* ''Anime/TransformersRobotsInDisguise'' has a more comedic version, with one woman and her oft-destroyed red sports car being an incidental victim of villain plots or annoyed by well-meaning Autobots ''all. The. Freaking. Time.'' It's less "kidnapped and rescued" and more "her having the worst luck ever is a running gag." How bad is it? ''Even at the Great Wall of China she isn't safe!''
* Kenny in ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' is perhaps the ultimate example of this. He dies in practically ''every. Single. Episode.'' It usually happens in some very bizarre way that would be highly improbable to ever occur in real life, too. Of course, at the beginning of the next episode, [[ResetButton he's alive again with no explanation and none of the other characters finding it strange]]. But then there was a VerySpecialEpisode where Kenny was diagnosed with a terminal disease and his friends tried to get embryonic stem cell research legalized so a cure could be found before Kenny died. Although they convinced the government to change the law, it was too late, and Kenny tragically passed away, and stayed dead for the rest of the season.
* For some reason, the writers of ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'' really liked to pick on Percy. While most engines had accidents (running into a train, blowing through the station, falling in a mine, sliding into a ditch, etc) or were victims of the Troublesome Trucks playing tricks, Percy seemed to have the ''most'' accidents period (in addition to the dirty ones). Among these he was slid into the ocean, pushed into a break van (and ''[[WhatTheHellHero was blamed for it]]''), hit some buffers that broke, hit a Treacle cart, hit a fruit cart, hit a cart of jam, hit a cart of limestone, crashed through a [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments chocolate factory and emerged covered in chocolate]], or accidentally sprayed with snow and turned into a snowman.
** While Percy gets the most accidents, James' tend to consist of some of the most elaborate and humiliating, usually to [[BreakTheHaughty bring down his ego]]. Should he get even the slightest bit full of himself, something terrible is bound to happen to him, and usually his lovely red paintwork. He's hit a tar wagon, been repainted ''as a bee'', stung by a real one, made to travel in just his pink undercoat and derailed into mud after colliding into Gordon. Additionally, while Percy at least gets to live most of his woes down, the other engines tend to [[NeverLiveItDown have a better memory of James']].
* In the old animated ''Franchise/StarshipTroopers'' show, there was literally ''never'' a time when Carmen came to extract the squad and ''didn't'' get shot down and have to be rescued. And yet [[InformedAbility everyone still talks about her as if she's the greatest pilot ever]]. She has been their pilot for like 2 years, and she has never ''not'' been shot down.
* In early seasons of ''Franchise/ScoobyDoo'', Daphne was captured and kidnapped so often that she got the in-universe nickname "Danger-Prone Daphne".
** Not to mention her tendency to unwittingly screw up Fred's traps pretty frequently.
* Fans of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' like to point out that poor Princess Cadance ''can't'' seem to catch a break. Out of all her major appearances she's only had a good time ''once''; the rest of the time she's either imprisoned, straining to keep a monster from overwhelming and destroying a kingdom, or being [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking jerked around by Discord]].